pH of pool water

Ph of swimming pool water

Maintaining the pH of pool water at the correct level is the best thing you can do for your pool and your water. This is because it will help preserve the pool surface.  Often premature failure of equipment and the pool surface can be traced back to poor pH balance.   and the safety of the water for swimmers. Remember, it is generally suggested that you check the pH of your pool every two weeks in summer and every month in winter.

“Did you know that most surface issues occur because the pH of the water has been too high or low for a long period of time.”

Maintaining the right pH level in your pool is important for these reasons:

Comfort: Water with the proper pH level is more comfortable for swimmers. Water that is too acidic (pH below 7.2) can cause eye and skin irritation, while water that is too alkaline (pH above 7.8) can lead to cloudy water and reduced effectiveness of chlorine.

Chlorine effectiveness: Chlorine, which is commonly used as a disinfectant in pools, is most effective in a pH range of 7.2 to 7.8. If the pH is too high or too low, the chlorine may not work as effectively at sanitizing the water.

Equipment longevity: Maintaining the correct pH level can help prevent damage to pool equipment, such as pumps and filters. Water that is too acidic can corrode metal components, while water that is too alkaline can lead to scaling on pool surfaces and equipment.

Handling hydrochloric (pool) acid

Transporting and handling drums of acid can indeed be a challenging and potentially hazardous task due to the weight and the corrosive nature of the chemicals involved. Here are some safety tips and best practices for safely transporting and handling drums of acid.

Safety Gear: Before handling acid drums, ensure that you have personal protective equipment (PPE) such as chemical-resistant gloves and safety goggles. 

Use a Dolly or Cart: Transporting heavy drums is easier and safer with the use of a dolly or cart.  It is a lot safer too!

Secure the Drum: If acid spills in the boot of your car it can be a very costly and dangerous mess.  Make sure the drum is properly sealed and secure during transportation. It should be in good condition with no leaks. Avoid storing it in confined spaces.

Hydrochloric acid
Ph of water

What is the right pH of pool water and how do I adjust it?

For most pools around the world, it is recommended that you maintain the pH of pool water at 7.4. This is because the pH of our eyes (tears) is also 7.4. This means that if the pH of the water is kept at 7.4 then your eyes shouldn’t sting when you swim. Remember, it is a common myth that it is the chlorine, not the pH that causes your eyes to sting when swimming.

The pH of water goes either up (more alkaline) or down (more acidic). The two most common ways used to adjust pH is using hydrochloric acid to lower it and buffer (sodium bicarbonate) to raise it. Soda ash can also be used to raise pH but this often results in the water turning cloudy.

Your local pool shop will be able to tell you how much of each material is required to adjust your pH correctly when they test the pool water. However, many pool owners who test the water themselves will often know how much is needed based on past experience.

Should I buy a pH controller for my pool?

Acid feeders for swimming pools are becoming more popular, particularly in upmarket pools. This is because these systems automatically adjust the pH using probes in the pipework. These probes measure the pH several times a minute while the pump is running. These systems will then add hydrochloric acid to the pool as required. This will then adjust the pH of pool water to the desired level.

Consider this before buying a pH controller.

While these systems are very convenient, there are two things to consider before purchasing. First, the probes in these systems require regular maintenance. They need to be removed, cleaned, and calibrated from time to time. This is most often done at the pool shop for a fee.

Secondly, as the probes age, they need to be replaced. Remember, probes often several hundred dollars to buy and need to be calibrated before installation. These probes also become less accurate as they age. Therefore, it can mean that the pool is out of balance, even though the system still says that the water is perfect. In short, pH controllers are low maintenance, not no maintenance.

Liquid chlorine feeder

Why pH is important

If your pH is maintained properly, this stability means that your chances of pool surface issues or water chemistry problems are greatly reduced. Some of these pool surface issues can cause significant surface damage. They can also cost more than $10,000 to rectify in some cases. While there is no perfect solution, a pH controller should be considered if you are not able, or interested in maintaining your pool regularly. You can find more detailed information about pH and what it means here.

Final Thoughts…

We often say that pH is the engine room of water chemistry and arguably the most important.  If you keep the pH right, you will find that your pool ownership experience will be a lot more pleasant and a lot cheaper.  Adjusting your pH frequently will help your pool surface, equipment, and water a huge favour.   We had a client who purchased a home test kit and tested the pH weekly during summer and spent $250.00 less on pool chemicals at the pool shop that year compared to past years.  All she did was just keep her pH balanced.